In the marketing world, content has always been king. But in the era of Instagram, visuals are more important than ever.
Social media users are constantly online scrolling through post after post, watching cat video after cat video, or whatever else they find entertaining. With all of these social media channels speaking to your target audience at once, you only have but a few seconds to catch and hold their attention. So how do you create a visual that’s going to beat the latest viral cat video?
- What’s your point?
Before you get started, you must clearly understand what the goal of your photo is and what makes it unique. For example, let’s say you’re trying to sell a product. Social media is a great place to do that! Before getting started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s so special about your product?
- Why should someone care?
- What sets it apart from other, similar products?
By answering these questions BEFORE you take your photos, you will know what should be featured to take a compelling photo that will attract more engagement. It gives you a direction and a plan of attack.
- Set up your shot
Remove any clutter or anything that is distracting to your intended message – and we’re not just talking about garbage here. When looking at the background of your setup, don’t forget to see how reflective surfaces and other lighting sources are impacting your shot.
- Take a couple test shots
Maybe you need to take the photo from a different angle, adjust the light, move closer or farther away. You won’t know until you take a test shot, though. Any photographer will tell you they take multiple shots of the same thing to get juuuuuust the right shot. Sure, you can always edit a shot, but it helps to have a solid photo from the beginning. (Pro tip: When taking photos for social media, always hold your phone vertically. Horizontal photos don’t crop as well for those platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook.)
- What’s your point?
Now let’s take a look at some examples:
While there’s nothing wrong with this photo, there’s nothing that draws you in. At first glance, there’s no way to know the point of this photo – why do I care about this woman pictured in the photo? What makes her so important? Since the photo doesn’t tell the story, we need the caption on this one. Based on that, we now know she’s selling a vacation home, and that this photo is not about the woman at all. Can you see why that would be a problem if the whole point of the post is to sell destination properties?
Now let’s look at an example of what TO do:
This photo is stunning and clean. There’s nothing pulling away from the attributes of the home’s exterior, which we can see is the purpose of the photo if we read the caption. The viewer is instantly drawn to the pool and the outdoor patio, and likely imagines themselves entertaining at this residence. The photo is selling the property for them!
Strategize before you start taking your photos. Determine the purpose of the photo before you take it. Also consider your target audience, and what about the photo is unique. Play to those strengths.
As a marketing agency in Phoenix, we value the quality of social media content, and that extends to photos. We can’t stand a bad photo, and we know most social media users would agree with us. Remember: your social media posts are an extension of your brand, so make them count!
Tyler is a Partner at Decibel Blue. He is a recent graduate of Scottsdale Leadership’s prestigious Class 33 and has previously sat on the board of the Phoenix Suns 88 Charities as Executive Committee chairperson (or “Big Gorilla”). He is also an active member of the Key Executive Forum for PR Boutiques International, a global collaborative network of public relations agencies. Tyler is passionate about supporting education-related causes since his wife, Victoria, has been a public school teacher for many years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.